Photo: Scientists have found in Laos traces of a major asteroid

Space body left on the Ground trace in the form of a crater with a diameter of about 20 kilometers.

The territory of Laos found traces of a giant crater dvadtsatikilometrovaya that arose about 780 thousand years ago in the fall of a large asteroid. The findings of scientists 30 Dec published the journal PNAS.

It is noted that the depths and the surface of the Earth, unlike the moon, Mars, mercury, and other worlds of the inner Solar system are not the same. They are constantly updated, so on our planet there are almost no traces of the fall of even the largest asteroids capable of destroying life.

This prevents scientists to understand how the fall of cosmic bodies can influence the formation and evolution of life, and also how often this happened.

For this reason, the discovery of new craters is a great event for geologists.

At the end of 1930-ies on the coast of Australia and the countries of Southeast Asia have discovered deposits of the so-called tektites − teardrop stones emerging presumably as a result of the fall of a large asteroid.

Deposits of these fragments of the rocks ejected from Earth after a meteorite impact, was subsequently found in all Eurasia. In total they cover from 10 to 30% of the total area of the planet.

Decades of searching have not helped geologists figure out where fell “the ancestor” of these deposits and what sizes had.

Set a tentative date of the fall of the asteroid − 780 thousand years ago and about 20 seats, which are suitable for the role of the crater.

Professor of geochronology at the University of Wisconsin brad singer and his colleagues found the answer to this question using clues from space.

They did not carry out excavations or to look for a partially erased traces of the craters, and analyzed how gravitational anomalies are distributed across Asia.

The formation of the crater and the sedimentary fill light or heavy volcanic rocks supposed to generate any distortion in the gravitational field of the Earth.

Following this idea, scientists began to look for such anomalies and to study the composition of rocks on their territory. The search pointed to the existence of a crater with a diameter of about 20 kilometers in the South of Laos, on the territory of the bolaven plateau filled with lava and fragments of sedimentary rocks.

Analysis of its content showed that it consists of the same minerals, and tektites, and not far from the crater, scientists have discovered traces of rocks, deformed in a powerful blow.

Geologists believe that further exploration of the crater will help to figure out what sizes had it gave rise to the asteroid, and also what speed and at what angle he fell to the Ground.

All this will provide the first opportunity to accurately assess the role of the fall of celestial bodies in the settlement of the ancient bipedal humans (Homo erectus) in Asia, whose ancient remains belong to the same era as the Holocaust.